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Vorbid is een jonge band uit Noorwegen van wie ik recentelijk het debuutalbum ’Mind’ besprak voor Lords Of Metal. Hoewel er nog wel een aantal kanttekeningen aanwezig waren was ik toch erg enthousiast over de muziek. De combinatie tussen progressieve elementen en thrash metal is iets wat ik toch wel interessant vind. Bij mijn research bleek ook dat deze mannen vierde zijn geworden in de internationale ‘Battle Of The Bands’, een flinke prestatie! Omdat ik graag jonge bands een podium bied, en het debuutalbum ook goed vond, besloot ik contact op te nemen met lead gitarist Daniel Emanuelsen om wat meer over ze te weten te komen.

Door: Leon | Archiveer onder prog / sympho metal

Congratulations on the release of your album ‘Mind’! As you are a new emerging band would you be so kind to give us a small introduction of who you are?
Thank you! Vorbid is a semi progressive thrash quartet made up of Michael Eriksen Briggs – guitar and vocals, Daniel Emanuelsen – lead guitar, Jonas Tellefsen – bass and Marcus Gullovsen – drums. Making music is what we do best in life, so there’s not much point for any of us to try anything else, ergo Vorbid won’t go anywhere.

Have you been happy with the reviews of the new album so far?
‘Mind’ has gotten a lot more attention than the EP, as a result there’s been a lot more varied reviews. Everything from 3/10 to 10/10, and I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, it encourages us! There seems to be three big points of discussion on this album:

One, the vocals: This one we take full responsibility for and would like to sincerely apologize for. Seriously though, all the attention in Vorbid is on the instrumentals so when we hit the studio there is no blueprint for any vocals, we just have the lyrics and hope for the best. This album has taught us the (major) importance of good vocals, which is currently our number one priority. I would in no way give the ‘blame’ for the vocals to Michael just because he sang them, we all equally dismissed them. Some may miss the vocals from the EP, and I understand that, but I personally don’t really like them either. Any further release will have a vocal-track that we all can get behind, with equal tender, love and care given to them as the instruments.

Two, the production: There seem to be a love/hate thing going on with the production: You either, A, like a hard thrash production, a wall of sound and aggression, and find the production on ‘Mind’, lacking. Or you’ll, B, like the fact that everything is heard better with a more spacious sound and are willing to trade the aggression for more pronounced details. I personally like the production, but we might do the mix and master in a different place than where we record next time we make an album.

Three, a twenty-three minute thrash song: Okay let’s address the elephant in the room. Twenty-three minutes’ worth of thrash in one song is not for everyone. I find it interesting reading reviews, seeing the interviewer struggle to find a ‘box’ to put this song into. I haven’t once read a review where they compare the song to anything other than metal. Take Genesis or Rush for example. I’m not comparing us to these gods, but to understand something you need something to compare it to, something you have heard before. If you’ve never heard Suppers Ready (Genesis) or ‘Dogs’ (Pink Floyd), it might be hard to think anything other than ‘batshit crazy’ or just stupid, when hearing ‘Mind’ for the first time. It’s definitely not for everyone, but if you happen to like both Genesis and Testament, you might dig it. Reading bad reviews is constructive, and I learn a lot from it. BUT, if you’re going to talk shit about my shorts instead of actually hearing the music, fuck you! (Yes, my shorts were actually a point of criticism on the album).

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You’ve released a self-titled EP in 2016, your first release if I’m not mistaken, did you approach ‘Mind’ differently than the EP in terms of writing and/or recording?
Both lyric writing and riff making were different, but not forced different. We liked different music when making ‘Mind’ then when making the EP. If I am to sum up the inspiration of the EP and ‘Mind’ into three albums I would say:

EP: ‘Rust in Peace’ – Megadeth, ’The New Order’ – Testament and ‘Alice in Hell’ – Annihilator.
‘Mind’: ‘Hemispheres’ – Rush, ‘Hemispheres’ - Rush and ‘Hemispheres’ - Rush

The thrash element is still apparent on ‘Mind’ we still listen to it, if not as much, but love playing it. It’s the perfect genre to mix in other stuff. Of course, approaching a song that eventually is going to reach twenty-three minutes, will be different than making a ‘verse, chorus, verse, chorus, solo, outro song’ but it all just happened, it was a product of the stuff we were into at the time (did I mention ‘Hemispheres’ – Rush?). The recording took place in the same place as the EP. The process was longer and more tedious because we were a little pickier this time, but just as fun.

’Mind’ is a conceptual record that revolves around all the factors that steers the human mind and way of behavior and thinking. In a fictional world based on our own history, they conceptualize people’s tendencies to abuse, segregate, stray away from the community, escape from the reality and base their actions on human made divinity. What inspired you to write about this?
The songs themselves (excluding the title track) are more stand-alone stories, but with a thematic contribution to the common concept, it’s not a concept album in the sense that we follow a character from A to B with a point of conflict, a climax and a final settlement. Every song has their theme. The influence for a song like zombie was just sitting around watching too many zombie flicks. But the theme of the song deals with the fear of coping, angst and life stillness, it’s all about finding a suitable ‘world’ for you theme. Of course, this way of writing makes it hard for people to interpret your song as more than a cheesy song about the living dead, but it was an interesting way of writing.

Writing about false divinity as the main concept is not new to us (listen to Crimson Crown and Closed Casket from the EP). My mother was born into a god-fearing family, where they spoke in tongues, predicted the end of the world etc. Shit like this really fucks you up if your young enough to take it seriously, and don’t really have the means to grasp the concept of a god. When your way of selling your religion relies on brainwashing people not able to think for themselves, you’re a bad person in my book. This served as a big inspiration for the concept, though the actual lyrics in ‘Mind’ part two, where this is addressed, is inspired from Lovecraft. It may be ignorant to describe Christians as assholes because of the doings of a few idiots from forty years ago. I know a lot of really nice religious people, but I’m not writing about them, I’m writing about the kind that see children and disabled people as ‘easy targets’ for their propaganda.

Most notably is the last song on the album, which is twenty-three minutes long. Very remarkable for a thrash metal band, even if influenced by prog as well. What made you decide to do this?
We basically said: ‘let’s just make the ultimate Vorbid song and throw everything we have into one epic song’. Ironically the song turned out a ‘non-Vorbid song’, a kind of black sheep, instead of the intended. I’d be lying if I said we didn’t intend for it to be as long as it is, we sat a goal of fifteen minutes, and weren’t going to stop before we reached that target. As mentioned it is a product of what we were listening to. When talking about the instrumental influences of this song, I can narrow it down to:

‘Fountain of Lamneth’ – Rush
‘Dance of Eternity’ – Dream Theater
‘Call of Ktulu’ – Metallica
‘Suppers’ Ready’ – Genesis
‘Hemispheres’ – Rush (did I mention that one?)

The only thing we should’ve thought about when making it was live shows. We actually played the whole thing at our release gig, but hell, it was no walk in the park. I was thinking of using my double neck guitar for this song, but there was no way I was going to have a fifty pound piece of wood strapped to my torso for twenty-three minutes.

I read you guys came in fourth in the Global Battle of the Bands World Final in May 2016, that is really impressive. Can you tell a bit more about the road leading up to that and the experience overall?
This was a period were all the shows we did were band competitions. This was the first big one though. There were about fifty bands in the first semifinal and about twenty in the national finals so it was a big privilege to win, especially because it wasn’t a metal competition, there was all kinds of genres, but our guitar wankery and shrieks still took us to number one, go figure. The international finals were held in Berlin, our first trip abroad. I don’t really know if public drinking is legal in Germany, but the senseless, un-urbanized kids we are, the first thing we did was buying a couple of bottles of cheap whiskey and hit the streets, silly but fun. We came in at number 4 in the finals, respectively to the bands above us, they were awesome. It was a great and healthy experience that taught me that ALL music can be phenomenal, it just comes down to the artist.

I could swear that I hear various influences in your music, like Death and Testament, hell at some point I even hear some Dream Theater sounding stuff. What bands were the biggest influences for you guys?
I think an important part of being in a band and writing together is being like family with your bandmates. We like to get together and listen to music and drink beer, so these night often determine how we write as a band. I’ve already mentioned some of the songs and bands that influenced this album, so let’s have a countdown of the bands we listened the most to during the making of each album:

- Testament (The four first albums were played all of the time).
- Sepultura (It was never my cup of tea, but Michael and Marcus basically made the foundation of Vorbid by jamming the shit out of early Sepultura in 2013).
- Metallica (‘Kill ‘Em All’ and ‘Ride the Lightning’ were most frequently played, and it’s always fun to jam to).
- King Crimson (We would listen to ‘In The Court Of The Crimson King’ and ‘Red’ a lot, but this kind of music hadn’t found its way to our writing yet).
- Megadeth (‘Peace Sells But… Who’s Buying?’).
- Not to mention: Death, Tantara, Primus and David Bowie.

- Transatlantic (Basically just one album, ‘The Whirlwind’, but boy did we play that record a lot).
- Dream Theater (‘Awake’ and ‘Metropolis Pt. 2’ were always on, some of the progressive elements from ‘Metropolis’ might have found its way onto the title track).
- Camel (melody, melody and more melody).
- King Crimson (There was more King Crimson now, we started listening to more of the obscure stuff).
- Rush (I think I mentioned this band. Everything from the debut to the end of their rock era was imprinted on our minds. Rush was in all definitions of the word: our religion).
- Not to mention: all bands from the EP times, and Soft Machine, and Mahavishnu Orchestra

- Tool (Got into Tool pretty late, and their music still haven’t really ‘wowed’ us, but it’s often played).
- The Aristocrats (The power trio/supergroup of the decade. Progressive and humorous).
- Steven Wilson, Porcupine Tree, Opeth (Three different groups, but I personally see them as three different sides of the same thing, they have the same new-wave of prog feel, but without the silly elements of Aristocrats and Devin Townsend).
- King Crimson (Even more King Crimson, with more of the 80s era).
- Genesis (Genesis is basically the new Rush now).

I don’t know what kind of music will be cornerstones for a potential new album will be, it’s not like Transatlantic’s music can be found on ‘Mind’, so we might not change as drastic as the bands we listen to today might hint, but then again, I wouldn’t hold my breath for another EP kind of album.

I read that the band started out under the name Purgatory, what made you change the name to Vorbid? And how did you come up with that new name?
That’s some research, I had almost forgotten… Purgatory was our name the first three to four months or so (right before I joined). And then Michael Changed it to Morbid Visions (did I mention he was a Sepultura disciple at that time?). Obviously we couldn’t keep the same name as Sepultura’s debut album, so we took the ‘V’ from visions, and changed it with the ‘M’ in morbid:

Morbid – M -> Orbid + V = Vorbid

Simple as that.

There is a question I ask all the bands but I’m particularly interested in your opinion since you’re quite young (judging by the pictures). The music industry of today is quite different than the one we had a few decades ago. Releasing music was never as simple as today thanks to home recording devices and streaming platforms like Spotify and Deezer. These streaming services make your music accessible to potentially billions of people but is also known for having a low financial benefit for artists. What is your opinion on this change in the market? A blessing or a curse?
People take music for granted today. There is no artwork, concept, lyric sheet or overall soul. It’s just mindless clicking (Although I’m guessing most of the people who read this are running music through physical formats). This infinitely huge library takes anything ‘special’ out of music and makes it redundant. You know, it’s kind of like having lobster for breakfast every day. This fact makes it impossible for labels to put bands into the studio for four months with any form of ‘risk’. The lack of religiousness in music along with the new roles of labels, I don’t think it’s possible for a band to become as big as bands once became, we might see another Beatles or Zeppelin, but they’ll never come in the same ballpark as being as big. On the other side, it is ‘easier’ to spread your music. Although the competition is much bigger as every twelve-year old with a computer can put out an album on Spotify. You don’t need a label anymore. So if you see a band on Spotify with two thousand followers, had it been in the seventies, they would either have none, or they would’ve had five million.

What can we expect from Vorbid in the near future? A new album? Touring? Are we going to be able to see you play live somewhere in the Netherlands?
There will defiantly be another album, we’re all burning away with new ideas and an urge to write more. We’ll be doing a tour that I really can’t say anything about yet in 2018, but as a matter of fact, we will be doing the Netherlands at the Eindhoven Metal Meeting. We have never been any good at getting gigs, but rather just sat around waiting for venues to approach us. That’s going to change though, I hope.

Thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions, is there anything you’d like to mention?
Thank you so much for the opportunity to talk about Vorbid and spreading our word.

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